Ebola Response and Recovery

Jul 20, 2015

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the worst of its kind in recorded history. Over 11 thousand people died, and over 3,900 were from Sierra Leone.

Yet death and suffering are only part of the crisis. The epidemic, and emergency actions to stamp it out, have severely slowed economic growth. Thousands of livelihoods have been affected, including many of the poorest and most vulnerable. In 2015, poverty could rise by 14% in Sierra Leone, and the country’s economy is expected to contract by around 23%.


Emergency response phase


The UNDP country team redirected its funds and actions to help fight the epidemic in August 2014.

Actions during the emergency response phase focused on five key areas:

Reaching the unreached

UNDP helped thousands of the most vulnerable people access key prevention information, including 220,000 remote community residents, over 2,500 people with disabilities and hundreds of people living with HIV/AIDS. 1200 quarantined homes were given basic hygiene kits, and around 1000 motorcycle taxi drivers received face-to-face sensitisation.

Maintaining healthcare

UNDP helped install 6 autoclaves - machines that safely sanitize infectious medical waste, and helped the international medical corps build Ebola treatment centre. We also helped set up a non-Ebola health workers group to restart non-Ebola related essential health services.

Paying Ebola workers

Over 23,000 Ebola response workers – the backbone of the anti-Ebola fight – were paid with UNDP support. All Ebola workers are now registered in the national hazard payroll system.

Preserving the peace

UNDP helped keep Ebola out of Sierra Leone’s overcrowded prisons, by helping set up two observation units. New inmates are separated from the general population in the news units for their first 21 days of incarceration. Over 2,300 corrections personnel were trained and equipped to better prevent transmission, and 395 people were helped to be released from detention.

To support security sector reform, UNDP helped train 2,500 security providers in standard operating procedures on quarantined areas and homes, roadblocks and safe burials.

With UNDP support, 91 one-hour radio programmes on Ebola aired nightly for three months. UNDP helped boost the reach of Sierra Leone’s sole, independent radio network to ensure anti-Ebola messages reach remote communities.

Counting the cost

Three national reports on the socio-economic impact of Ebola on households, businesses and across the country were developed


Recovery phase

Jul 20, 2015

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UNDP was tasked by the UN Secretary-General to lead the UN’s crisis recovery work in the three hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In Sierra Leone, whilst continuing to support the country’s efforts to get to zero Ebola cases, UNDP helped the government develop the country’s National Ebola Recovery Strategy.

UNDP’s own recovery action plan, titled ‘Restoring Livelihoods and Fostering Economic Recoveryspans 18 months, and should support the country’s recovery efforts.

UNDP’s action plan will help rebuild the livelihoods of those most affected, strengthen the government’s capacity to restore essential services and to ensure a rapid return to a sustainable development path, while preserving and promoting peace, stability and social cohesion.

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